Happiness means something different to each of us, but making small lifestyle adjustments may help bring it. Breaking bad habits may be difficult but developing positive ones is often much simpler.
Studies show that six hours of uninterrupted sleep per night makes you the happiest. Try reading instead of scrolling social media before bed.
1. Breathe Deeply
Breathing deeply when feeling stressed can help lower cortisol levels. Deep breaths also have the power to calm our sympathetic nervous system – which controls our fight-or-flight response – while slow breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system that promotes restfulness and digestion.
Deep breathing involves using your diaphragm, a muscle that moves downward when inhaling and upward when exhaling. A popular technique is 4-7-8 breathing: Inhale for five counts, hold them for seven counts before exhaling for eight counts.
Practice deep breathing to manage anxiety effectively. Make this part of your daily routine or use it when something stressful arises – even just before sleeping at night can help!
2. Do a Random Act of Kindness
An effective therapy for anxiety and depression involves performing acts of kindness for others. Studies have demonstrated that when we help someone, the warm glow of happiness we experience doesn’t just come from within – it actually produces chemicals in your brain which release feel-good peptides!
Helping others can bring you immense satisfaction, which may inspire you to be kinder and more generous towards yourself. Helping others can also teach us self-compassion – which may lower blood pressure and protect us from cardiovascular disease.
Kind acts don’t need to be complicated or time consuming – even the simplest gestures of kindness can have a dramatic impact. From dropping money in vending machines, writing notes for teachers, and giving genuine compliments, to simply leaving change on vending machines can all make an incredible difference! Try doing one random act of kindness every day; telling someone how much they mean or bringing cookies over can go a long way!
3. Make a List of Happy Memories
Reminiscing happy times, such as hiking trips with friends or birthday celebrations with loved ones, can help restore your mood or simply provide a boost of positive emotion. According to research published in 2012 in Journal of Happiness Studies, those who engaged in reflecting upon happy memories regularly experienced more joy and contentment than others who didn’t engage in similar activities.
If you want to increase your happiness, try writing down one memory each day in a notebook or using an “one thing that makes me happy” app. Even small things such as mint fragrance, new shoes or an indulgence like wine can bring joy; just choose treats that make you smile rather than guiltily binging on anything you find satisfying! Additionally, being more individualistic could actually benefit your mood than conforming.
4. Give Yourself a Cheeky Grin
Smiles can boost the immune system and fight sickness more effectively. Plus, smiling shows others that you are happy, making them feel good too!
Give yourself a cheeky grin the next time you feel stressed to see if it helps relieve tension. According to research by the Association for Psychological Science, participants who smiled through stressful activities had lower heart rates than those who didn’t smile during stressful activities.
Stefan Iannace of Cheeky Grin Coffee Cart in Croydon has transformed his shed pop-up to a bricks-and-mortar store by listening to his clients’ needs and preferences. He uses beans from Croydon roaster Willow Bend, as well as recently adding sourdough loaves and milk for local customers’ enjoyment. Furthermore, Stefan has developed a free app that alerts ice cream van customers when they are nearby, rather than the conventional chime method.
5. Take a Moment to Say Thank You
Simply taking the time to say thanks can be one of the easiest and most powerful ways to increase happiness. Expressing genuine appreciation to friends, family, colleagues or strangers will not only boost your mood but strengthen relationships too!
One way to show our gratitude is to write down a list of things each day for which you’re thankful, or simply thanking people in daily interactions. Doing this will increase awareness and appreciation for all the blessings in your life – such as friends, mates, pets, teachers, nature itself and spiritual forces.
Reading for pleasure is another activity to help increase happiness – and can even benefit mental health! Studies have linked reading for pleasure with improved sleep, reduced stress and anxiety levels, greater life satisfaction and overall greater life satisfaction. People who engage regularly in cultural activities such as visiting museums or concerts tend to be happier than those who don’t take part.
6. Practice Sudarshan Kriya Yoga
SKY breathing techniques provide a means of soothing the mind and relaxing the body. Beginning with Ujjayi breathing – slow breath that touches the throat – followed by Bhastrika or bellow breath which involves fast exhales twice as long as inhales; finally the last step, Om, involves three prolonged expirationss for complete relaxation and takes about 45 minutes in total.
Meditation practice also reduces impulsive behavior and enhances self-awareness in individuals, which is especially useful for those suffering from high blood pressure.
SKY can also help treat fibromyalgia by decreasing sympathetic nervous system activation that is over-active for those living with this condition. Furthermore, this yoga practice changes gene expression to mitigate post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms as well as improve interpersonal relationships through greater empathy and compassion.
7. Say “I Love You”
Telling someone you care may seem obvious, but it remains an integral step in any relationship. Beyond strengthening the bond, declaring your affection can foster trust and increase happiness – as well as reduce activation of fear centers in your brain.
However, actions speak louder than words when it comes to showing love. And it’s important to remember that everyone experiences it differently; no specific timetable exists for saying “I love you”, it depends on passion intimacy and commitment in your relationship. But do be wary – saying something might cause discomfort if they’re not prepared – take the risk and don’t hesitate – you could just change their lives forever!
8. Take a Break from Technology
Are you checking social media or scrolling through your phone when it should be used for work? Unplugging from technology will allow you to focus on what truly matters and increase productivity.
Reducing feelings of loneliness and improving sleep quality are among the many advantages to taking breaks from technology; studies have demonstrated this trend; those who take regular phone breaks tend to have lower anxiety levels, lessen depression symptoms and are overall happier in life.
Try taking an hour break each morning, dinnertime and before bed to disconnect and recharge with nature or spend quality time with loved ones in person or unscreen activities such as playing sports, going hiking or discovering a new hobby. There are even apps to track your usage and set limits on phone use! Make an effort to connect in-person with family and friends instead of turning on screens like playing sports or starting new hobbies!
9. Give Someone a Compliment
Have you ever received a compliment that changed your day entirely? Compliments have the ability to transform our world and start the cycle of positivity; furthermore, they foster empathy among people that begin with you – something which can greatly benefit both health and relationships.
According to one study, individuals who compliment others experience higher levels of positive emotions and stress resilience than those who don’t. Indeed, one’s positive-negative emotional balance may even be more indicative of overall health than income or social standing.
Engaging in positive affect-enhancing behaviors such as complimenting, random acts of kindness, loving kindness meditation and religious practices regularly can strengthen interpersonal relationships according to positive psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson’s “broaden and build” model. Doing this results in a virtuous cycle that benefits all involved – just giving someone a compliment could change their whole day! It only takes seconds!
10. Try a New Form of Exercise
Exercise increases feel-good chemicals in your brain, reduces stress hormones and enhances self-esteem and happiness. But exercise doesn’t need to be all or nothing — even quick walks or dance classes can have positive results and lift mood.
Discover different forms of movement until you find one that you enjoy, and schedule workouts when your energy level is at its peak – that way, your new habit can continue for longer!
If you’re struggling to feel happy, it could be due to negative emotions such as sadness, frustration or regret. By learning to accept and manage these feelings you can move forward more easily – here’s how!